Sports News

Sport24.co.za | Big psychological blow, but pressure is on WP

Cape Town – Getting what was needed in terms of log points to top the log was one objective for Western Province against the Blue Bulls at the weekend, but there was another – to strike an important psychological blow ahead of a likely return meeting between the teams in a semi-final.

WP returned to Cape Town feeling that it was very much a case of mission accomplished. Their 34-7 win in a rain-shortened game gave them pole position on the log which means a home final for them if they win their semi-final, and the Bulls should be carrying plenty of mental scars as they head to Newlands for the one that really matters this coming weekend.

However, Dobson is also probably all too aware that all the pressure is now on his team. A home game at Newlands, against a team they thumped on their home patch seven days earlier – what could go wrong?

Well, funny things do happen in the Currie Cup, and the stage could be set for the biggest upset in a semi-final since Wynand Claassen’s B Section Natal side knocked over Free State 26-15 at Kings Park in 1984. Natal had been thumped in a promotion relegation game against Northern Free State in Welkom the week before, and like the Bulls now, they had nothing to lose…

When a coach starts talking about complacency, you know he has accepted the favourites tag, but there again, how could he not after the margin of victory on the Bulls’ home paddock? What Dobson is right about though is that he can’t expect the Bulls to make the same mistakes in dry conditions that they did in the wet, and provided we don’t see a repeat of the freaky conditions that prevailed when WP thumped the Cheetahs earlier in the season, Saturday’s should be a completely different game.

“We are completely aware that the conditions favoured us, and some of those (Bulls players) made a few mistakes. We gained our territory largely off the Bulls’ wet-weather mistakes. It won’t be as easy as that next week,” Dobson told SuperSport.com.

At the same time though, what won Province the Loftus battle, namely forward power and good tactical acumen, is just part of the WP strength. As he hinted in a television interview after the game, the approach will be different at Newlands (provided it is dry). He said that his team will go back to their usual template, which is based on giving freedom to the team’s many X-factor players.

Dillyn Leyds, who ended up missing the Loftus game, is one of those, so is Damian Willemse, who ended up starting at fullback. If Leyds is ready to play at Newlands, Dobson faces an interesting dilemma, as Josh Stander, when asked to step in as the starting flyhalf, was again outstanding and arguably deserves a run in a semi-final as a preparation for a possible role in next year’s Super Rugby.

Right now though it is the Bulls who have most of the thinking to do, and some hard work ahead of them this week. They will know they never showed WP their full capabilities, but then they will also know that the same could probably be said of Province. The psychological blow delivered by WP was an emphatic one.

“What we wanted to do was to come here and make it seem very daunting for the Bulls to come to us next week,” said Dobson.

“Captain Chris van Zyl’s talk this week was to make a statement so that they will have a lot of doubt coming down for the semi-final. Maybe some of our play today could have created that. This a special group and they are definitely not going to be complacent for they are completely well aware that the conditions favoured us.

“The big win we scored over what was effectively the Cheetahs PRO14 side earlier in the competition prepared us for this game. The conditions in that game were not better than what we experienced here.”

What Dobson had no doubt about was that the Loftus performance was an exceptional one from his charges.

“We are absolutely thrilled because with those conditions we knew we had to get four tries and to do it before half-time was exceptional. When the message came that we might only get a half in, you can ask the players to play with massive intensity and do damage and I think they responded incredibly. I thought it was a really exceptional performance from us.”

Maybe at the same time, given how Dobson asked for extra intensity in a shortened game, Loftus was a microcosm of the WP season so far and offered an indication of why they have been so much better this year than they were in 2017. They did win the Currie Cup last year, but they only really seemed to switch on for the final league game against the Sharks and then the playoffs.

This year there were only six games due to the decision to cut the league phase to a single round and thus fewer matches that the players might have felt were meaningless. Perhaps the WP performances in the Currie Cup are an advance for the argument that less is more.

At the same time though, as Dobson will no doubt be telling his players on Monday, the season is not yet over, and WP haven’t won anything yet. They have made it easier for themselves by securing home ground advantage from here on, but in 2013 WP lost a home final to the Sharks everyone expected them to win…

They won’t want a repeat.

READ the story on SuperSport.com

Sport24.co.za | Proteas’ Aussie trip: Time to end tinkering?

Cape Town – Unless there are some sudden additions to their roster, South Africa have just 13 one-day internationals left to be ready for a forceful assault on the 2019 World Cup in just over seven months’ time.

Are they where they should be? I’d say the jury’s out … which is perhaps even to put it a little diplomatically.

The Proteas leave in nine days for three ODIs (plus a token once-off Twenty20 international) in Australia, before completing their CWC prep through the respective, all-formats summer visits to our shores of Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively – both those tours will include five important clashes in the 50-overs landscape.

At least all three ODI series will be against fellow top-tier foes, as coach Ottis Gibson and company will not have learned a great deal from the short, just-completed visit of modest neighbours Zimbabwe.

Sunday’s intended third and final T20 was rained off in Benoni, leaving the Proteas 2-0 winners to add to their equally predictable 3-0 sweep of the earlier ODIs.

Gibson used the two limited-overs series, but more especially the shortest-format one, to either blood or see more of a generous crop of inexperienced players.

But his experimental charges were not a great deal more than workmanlike, with several batting question marks, in particular, not able to be wiped emphatically from the whiteboard.

It left the following thought: with inconclusive showings in a number of instances by greenhorns, isn’t time running dangerously short now to not only establish them properly in the first-team plans but magically also evolve them into potential World Cup winners in 2019?

While we saw plenty of confirmation of South African strike power with the ball (the ODI venom of veteran Dale Steyn and wizardry across the two series of similarly evergreen leg-spinner Imran Tahir only added to the general state of health) a certain skittishness seems to remain at the crease.

Admittedly not helped by a couple of untrustworthy pitches along the way, the Proteas all too seldom exploded into genuine dominance of the Zimbabweans in the runs column.

In short, they did not often give the impression of being genuine World Cup contenders in a batting sense, a phenomenon that has stalked them for several months and arguably more.

On top of that, serious issues remain about the fluffiness of the SA tail, which only adds to the pressure on the supposed “cream” batsmen to come off.

Several established customers played limited roles – or in the case of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and David Miller no role at all – in the ODIs, and all this did was aggravate the sense of frailty.

The Proteas didn’t look too smart chasing down some modest Zimbabwean totals when the tourists had taken first strike, and in the only match where they had the chance to get in first, they slumped to a red-faced 101 for seven at Bloemfontein before the unlikely figure of Steyn (career-best 60) vitally got them to within a whisker of 200.

One plus was Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen both posting half-centuries when they had to hunt down a vaguely demanding 229 for victory in Paarl, so that duo may have slightly enhanced, rather than jeopardised, their World Cup credentials.

Still, Klaasen, for all his strong striking of the ball, showed a frustrating habit over the last couple of weeks of getting out needlessly when the finishing post was well within sight – a luxury that cannot too frequently be repeated against more heavyweight opponents.

You still sense that the Proteas, yet to get to grips with the aching loss of AB de Villiers, lack something in technical tightness and powers of resilience when it comes to their frontline limited-overs batting.

In that regard, perhaps someone like Temba Bavuma, very debatably overlooked for the Zimbabwean ODIs, is the right sort of medicine for a greater feeling of stability?

Gibson said before the series that the feisty, diminutive right-hander, already a Test stalwart, was “still in our conversations” and there has been little evidence subsequently to suggest his name should leave the lips of the brains trust … indeed, actual deployment to the cause seems a wiser course of action.

A mercurial fielder into the bargain, Bavuma has done his very damnedest on two prior ODI appearances to convince of his 50-overs merits: he scored 113 on debut against Ireland in September 2016, and then 48 against Bangladesh around a year later before returning to “twiddle my thumbs” mode for another lengthy period.

Both knocks were as an opener, although he has both the determination and resourcefulness to contribute in other capacities in the order and there is a solid case for saying he should be ahead of all of Dean Elgar, Christiaan Jonker and Khaya Zondo – squad members against Zimbabwe — in the ODI pecking order.

Perhaps that will be rectified for the looming Australian mission.

Hostilities against the World Cup holders begin at Perth on November 4.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24.co.za | WP wing pays price for head butt

Cape Town – Western Province under-19 wing Christian Ambadiang will only be allowed to play rugby again in March after being found guilty of serious foul play.

According to Netwerk24, Ambadiang was found guilty on two separate cases at a SA Rugby disciplinary hearing.

Ambadiang was involved in an ugly on-field fight (WATCH below) with Eastern Province under-19 fullback Dylan le Roux during an SA Rugby U19 Championship match in Despatch late last month.

Shocking video footage emerged of the incident in which both players received red cards.

The incident took place when Ambadiang was tackled by Le Roux.

After the tackle, both players can be seen getting into a scuffle.

Cameroon-born Ambadiang pushes Le Roux, who responds with a punch to the face that sees members of both sides rushing to stop the altercation.

Once everything has settled down, the referee shows both players a red card, but it doesn’t stop there.

The footage shows the two players walking off together and Ambadiang, clearly not happy with having been punched, head-butts Le Roux, who then throws another punch.

A spokesperson for SA Rugby said Ambadiang was suspended for three weeks for the red card – after which a 16-week suspension comes into effect for the head butt.

The ban has been split into two parts so the December off-season period is not taken into account – which effectively means the player can only play rugby again on March 1.

WP also started with their own internal investigation against Ambadiang, while it’s not certain whether EP will do the same with Le Roux.

Sport24.co.za | ‘Alarming’ stat as SIX test positive for steroids at Craven Week

Cape Town – The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) has shared its annual report 2017/18 which includes an overview of its legislative mandate and strategic objectives, organisational performance and accomplishments, and financials as audited by the Auditor-General SA. 

This report covers the events of the past financial year starting April 2017 to March 2018.

SAIDS CEO Khalid Galant together with representatives from the SAIDS Board presented the report to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Sport on Tuesday. 

Gelant said the number of anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) at schoolboy rugby level continues to be “alarming” and expressed concern at “the high tolerance of parents and coaches to doping practices”.

This is based on the 122 tests that were done during the 2018 Craven Week Tournament and an alarming six players testing positive, all related to anabolic steroids. The corresponding number of positive tests in recent years was three in 2014, five in 2015, four in 2016 and three in 2017.

Earlier this year Galant wrote to school rugby tournament organisers explaining the SAIDS Clean School Sport Policy, in terms of which “anti-doping detection, deterrence and prevention strategies will be extended to include in-competition testing at selected school sport events and tournaments”.

This was being undertaken in collaboration with the SA Schools Rugby Association (SASRA) and was supported by the SA Rugby Union and the Department of Sports and Recreation. Galant pointed out in the letter that anti-doping education was an integral part of the policy.

“The individual participating Schools are encouraged to schedule an anti-doping education session so that the learners, coaches and parents are aware of the drug testing process, what to expect, the dangers of doping, the risks of using dietary or sports supplements and the educational resources available to prevent falling foul of anti-doping regulations.”

Interesting facts and figures for 2017/18:

– A total of 1 659 athletes were tested during the year

– These included 1 312 urine tests, 296 blood tests and 29 tests for EPO (erythropoietin)

– A total of 46 anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) were detected during the period

– A total of 23 tests were carried out on bodybuilders with 14 ADRVs, 11 of which were at one single competition – by far the highest in any single sports code

– The most tested sports category in 2017/18 was athletics (including long-distance running), with 546 tests and six ADRVs

– The second most tested category was a total of 391 tests among rugby union players, with seven ADRVs – three of which were from schoolboy-level players participating in the 2017 Craven Week Rugby Tournament. The names of these players have not been made public as they are minors

– The overall number of tests were partially restricted in the 2017/18 year after the SA Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein lost its World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) accreditation. This meant that samples had to be couriered to WADA accredited laboratories overseas at a considerable cost. The laboratory is run entirely independently of SAIDS

 – A total of 126 Anti-Doping Education Events were conducted nationally during this period, covering a range of sports codes, from school to club, provincial and national level.

Sport24.co.za | It is pretty close to perfect – Van der Dussen

Cape Town – Proteas batsman, Rassie van der Dussen, has described scoring a half-century on his T20I debut against Zimbabwe at Buffalo Park on Tuesday as the ‘perfect’ start to his international career.

Van der Dussen (56 off 44 balls) came to the crease with the Proteas on 11/2, but showed no signs of debutant nerves as he rebuilt the innings together with captain Faf du Plessis (34 off 20 balls)  and David Miller (39 off 34 balls) towards a defendable total of 160.

The 29-year-old has worked hard for his international selection this year; he earned his maiden SA ‘A’ call-up after finishing as the leading run-scorer of the four-day competition last season, took the Vancouver Knights to their maiden Global T20 Canada League title and featured for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League.

“It is pretty close to perfect,” he said of his debut. “To get 50 on debut and to top it off with the team winning, which is the most important thing, it is a dream come true and I couldn’t be happier.

“It has definitely helped my game,” he said of playing in the various T20 leagues around the world. “You come up against some of the best in the world in these international tournaments. Doing well there gave me the confidence to know that I can perform at that level. This is international cricket, it is a new stage with extra pressure but also with a lot of privilege. It gave me confidence to come out and play my game.”

The second T20I takes place at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Friday, a former home ground for Van der Dussen, who played for North West before becoming a consistent starter for the Highveld Lions. He expects the conditions up on the Highveld to produce high-scoring pitches which will need a change of game plans and mindset against Zimbabwe’s bowlers.

“As a player you always have to try to learn and adapt,” he explained. “You want to get better every day. I came up against Zimbabwe’s bowlers for the first time so going into the next few games I will reassess and see where I went wrong and where I can do better. Hopefully I can emulate what I did here in the last two games.

“Spin won’t be as effective on the Highveld,” he said. “We might have some high-scoring games if the wickets are like they usually are in Potch and Benoni. As a batter your scoring areas and tactics change a bit, especially against spin. I can see some big totals if we get good wickets.”

Imran Tahir has been released from the squad for the last two matches which will give the selectors an opportunity to look at other bowling options.

Sport24.co.za | Evergreen Tahir spins a web around Zimbabwe

Cape Town – The Proteas have won the first T20 International against Zimbabwe by 34 runs to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

Set 161 to win, Zimbabwe were once again bamboozled by home side leg-spinner Imran Tahir who ended with 5/23 from his four overs.

Like he did in the ODI between the teams in Paarl, Tahir was entrusted to open the bowling.

The decision immediately paid dividends with the excitably spinner quickly having the visitors reeling at 11/3 having removed Chamu Chibhabha (3), Hamilton Masakadza (1) and Tarisai Musakanda (0) by the end of his second over.  

Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams steadied the ship somewhat, taking Zimbabwe to 40 in the 8th over before Junior Dala struck, with Taylor brilliant caught by Quinton de Kock as he tried to ramp the ball over the Proteas keeper.

After Williams and Peter Moor began a fightback, Tahir returned and immediately struck, bowling Williams for 21 and trapping Elton Chigumbura the very next ball for a golden duck to leave the visitors reeling on 66 for 6.

Andile Phehlukwayo struck in the very next over, taking a caught and bowled chance off Tendai Chisoro (2) as Zimbabwe slumped to 71 for 7.

With South Africa looking like they would win comfortably, Peter Moor had other ideas, taking four sixes in a row of Tabraiz Shamsi.

He was supported by Brandon Mavuta and in the period of 8 balls, Zimbabwe had smashed 33 runs leaving them on 113 for 7, needing 48 off 28 balls. 

Mavuta, who had blitzed his way to 28 off just 14 balls could only pick out third man on the boundary from a Dala full toss to bring the game back to the Proteas and leave Zimbabwe on 123 for 8. 

Lungi Ngidi returned to bowl Kyle Jarvis (0) and leave South Africa within a whisker of victory. Phehlukwayo ended their innings by grabbing the wicket of Moor for a well played 44 off just 21 balls. 

After Tahir’s devastating spell, Dala and Phehlukwayo’s figures of 2 for 25 were the best for South Africa.

Earlier, debutant Rassie van der Dassen scored a well-played 50, providing impetus to the Proteas innings which at one stage was struggling at 11 for 2.

Van der Dassen (56), Faf du Plessis (34) and David Miller (39) helped the home side reach 160 for 6 in their 20 overs.

The second T20 International between the two sides is on Friday, October 12 in Potchefstroom at 18:00.

Sport24.co.za | Boks stay 5th in rankings after All Blacks defeat

Cape Town – The Springboks remain fifth on the official World Rugby rankings following their 32-30 defeat to the All Blacks in Pretoria over the weekend.

READ: Springboks v All Blacks – 5 talking points

Following their defeat, the Boks lost 0.44 ratings points, but it was enough for them to remain ahead of Scotland in the pecking order.

New Zealand, who overcame a 30-13 second half deficit at Loftus Versfeld, gained 0.44 ratings points and sit comfortably atop the rankings.

Meanwhile, Australia remain seventh following a come-from-behind 45-34 win over Argentina in Salta.

The Wallabies trailed 31-7 at half-time but turned on the style in the second period. They gained 1.02 ratings points, but remain behind Scotland in the rankings.

Los Pumas lost 1.02 ratings points and stayed ninth in the standings.

Top 20 in the current World Rugby rankings:

1. New Zealand 92.96
2. Ireland 90.12
3. Wales 85.94
4. England 85.68
5. South Africa 83.52
6. Scotland 83.02
7. Australia 82.86
8. France 79.10
9. Argentina 78.01
10. Fiji 76.54
11. Japan 75.24
12. Tonga 73.84
13. Georgia 73.13
14. Italy 72.56
15. USA 71.66
16. Samoa 68.28
17. Romania 68.25
18. Uruguay 65.37
19. Russia 64.89
20. Spain 63.09

Other:

22. Namibia 59.97
39. Zimbabwe 49.28

Sport24.co.za | Bok player ratings: Loftus implosion can’t hide positives

Cape Town – The words of Naas Botha in the minutes following the final whistle summed things up: “We controlled the game for 79 minutes,” the Bok legend offered. 

READ: 11 staggering stats that will have you baffled as to how the Springboks lost!

That was certainly the case on the scoreboard. 

The All Blacks, as has so often been the case in recent years, saved their best for the final quarter and their 19 unanswered points in that time stunned an electric Loftus crowd as the ‘old foe’ left with a stunning 32-30 victory. 

30-13 ahead with 18 minutes to play, the Boks had delivered easily their most polished performance of the year, dominating the world champions territorially and in the possession stakes as they looked home and dry for a first back-to-back triumph over the All Blacks since 2009. 

There are lessons of composure and the art of seeing out games to be learnt, but the overall assessment remains one of positivity given where this Bok side has come from. 

A year ago, knocking the All Blacks over in Wellington seemed impossible. 

While the win at the ‘Cake Tin’ stemmed from gladiator-like defence, this performance at Loftus saw the Boks dictating proceedings for most of the match. 

It wasn’t enough, but it is still hard to single out any strikingly poor individual performances on a night that was so close to being one of celebration for the Boks. 

This is how I rated the Springboks in Pretoria:

Willie le Roux: 7.5

A lively and impressive display in his 50th Test. Made the break for the Boks’ opening try, was solid under the high ball, kicked intelligently and is such an attractive attacking option when he joins as first receiver. 

Cheslin Kolbe: 6

Limited opportunities for the right-wing given how the Boks went about their business. Showed strength and determination to wiggle his way towards the line to score what should have been the winning try on the hour mark. 

Jesse Kriel: 7

One of the more memorable performances by a Bok No 13 in this Rugby Championship. Slowly starting to edge ahead in the race against Lukhanyo Am for that World Cup place? Superb finish for his try and ran hard, probing lines throughout. Sent Loftus delirious with second half turnover.

Damian de Allende: 6

Nothing flash, but De Allende does provide a solid base for the Boks to attack from after first or second phase. Ran a good line for his try, but was guilty of drifting ‘sideways’ at times. Also, a wasteful ‘nothing’ kick in first half.

Aphiwe Dyantyi: 5.5

Like Kolbe, limited opportunity with ball in hand. Struggled defensively, but did show glimpses of his natural pace. Find of the season by a country mile, but not his best day at the office as highlighted by aerial knock-on under no pressure. 

Handre Pollard: 7.5

Looking more and more like a flyhalf that can guide this side to something special in 2019. Flawless off the tee, intelligent tactical kicking, dynamic distribution and a couple of testing runs at the AB defence. 

Faf de Klerk: 7

Has been impressive all year, but so encouraging to see him get his kicking right. Was accurate with the box kicks, while he also found some handy space behind the AB defence. Service was crisp throughout, but did throw a pass into touch when a Bok try was on the cards.

Francois Louw 5.5

For me, the most disappointing of the Boks on the day. Drafted in at No 8, Louw was guilty of giving away penalties on the ground. Went a bit ‘missing’, especially given that his selection was based on providing muscle at the breakdown. 

Pieter-Steph du Toit: 7

Another monster shift from South Africa’s Wellington hero. Du Toit continues to thrive at No 7 where he offers a lineout option, carries tirelessly and puts in hit after hit after hit after hit. Much of the same on Saturday.

Siya Kolisi: 7.5

Another very encouraging performance from the skipper. No Bok made more tackles on the day (12) and Kolisi is making the captaincy his own through such commitment to the cause. His offload for De Allende’s try was as deft as they come. 

Franco Mostert: 7

Impressive. The Boks were largely solid at the lineout, using four different jumpers, and Mostert is comfortably ahead in the race for the No 5 jersey in Japan. Was a capable ball carrier while his work on defence and on the ground was also noticeable.

Eben Etzebeth: 6

Probably didn’t have the impact on the game he would have liked, but was solid enough. Ran hard and straight at AB defence and, as always, made his presence known. Penalised at the breakdown and lost a lineout, but remains crucial to Bok cause.

Frans Malherbe: 6

Bok scrum was under pressure throughout the contest, but Malherbe played his part in stopping it from disintegrating. Always keen to look for work off the ball. The battle for the No 3 jersey is far from over, but Malherbe did his case no harm at Loftus.

Malcolm Marx: 8

Ryan Crotty said in the week that he would pick Codie Taylor as his hooker over Marx ‘any day’. He may have changed his mind after this. Marx was immense, for the umpteenth time. His lineout work was sound, but he has superhuman ability over the ball and proved that again at Loftus. Put Boks on front foot with a few barging runs, too. 

Steve Kitshoff: 6

Proper heavyweight battle with Owen Franks in the front row, and Kitshoff more than held his own. The Bok scrum stood firm when it looked on the verge of disintegrating on several occasions, and much of that was down to Kitshoff. Becoming harder to justify leaving him out.

Standout substitute:

One moment of stepping magic from Damian Willemse while RG Snyman looked to get busy, but the bench was on the field during the Springbok implosion, so finding positives on that front is tricky. 

Follow @LloydBurnard on Twitter …

Sport24.co.za | ‘Motivated’ Proteas want to finish off strongly in Paarl

Cape Town – Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis states that there is a bigger purpose and push from his side ahead of the third and final One-Day International (ODI) against Zimbabwe at Boland Park in Paarl on Saturday.

READ: Faf du Plessis returns to lead Proteas in Paarl

The Proteas wrapped up the series with the 120-run win in the second ODI in Bloemfontein on Wednesday, but remain motivated to finish the series off strongly, particularly as opportunities to cement positions in the squad lessen.

“The guys have been training hard,” Du Plessis said to the media at Boland Park on Friday. “I have also been training hard with the guys and I’m feeling excited to be back on the field again. The guys are motivated, we are not only looking at what is in front of us now, there is a bigger purpose and push for what lies ahead. At no stage will we be taking it easy. The guys are still trying to impress and are trying to get into that World Cup side.

“The players are motivated and driven to put in performances to put their names into the hat for the World Cup selection,” he explained.

“As a team, we are still trying to find our feet as to how exactly we are going to go about playing in the World Cup. There are some exceptional players coming through which is great to see.”

Du Plessis has been travelling with the team despite his injury and has been able to keep up to date with the progress of the squad and players.

He says he has been impressed by some of the individual performances throughout the series, but hopes for better batting conditions to give the batsmen an opportunity to put up big scores.

“The bowling has been exceptional once again,” he praised. “We have some good wicket-taking options throughout the innings. That is what we are working to get better on, from overs 11 – 50, we want to keep getting wickets, Imran (Tahir) has been exceptional. With the batting, it is too difficult to say where we have been leaving it too short or where we have been good because it has been quite challenging for the batsmen.

“It (batting) has been difficult with the wickets that we have been playing on,” he admitted. “One or two guys have been looking good but from a batting-unit point of view it has been tough for the guys. I am hoping tomorrow (Saturday) will be a lot different, it looks like a good wicket. That is what you want to see, you want big runs on the board and games going on a bit longer.”

The match is scheduled to start at 13:30.

Sport24.co.za | Venter: All Blacks disrespected Boks in Wellington

Cape Town – Former Springbok assistant coach Brendan Venter says the All Blacks won’t make the mistake of underestimating the Boks again when the teams clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

Kick-off at Loftus Versfeld is at 17:05.

South Africa stunned the rugby fraternity when they beat New Zealand 36-34 in Wellington last month – a game in which Venter believes the All Blacks players did not show their opponents enough respect.

“I know for a fact that the All Black coaches didn’t disrespect the Springboks because they rate them and would never have picked their best side if they didn’t. Sometimes what you say as a coach off the field doesn’t necessarily translate to what happens on the field. The All Black coaching staff would have told the players to respect the Springboks, but deep down they didn’t,” the former Springbok centre wrote via a column for the Stuff.co.nz website.

Venter warned his countrymen that it would be tougher to win at Loftus this weekend.

“I cannot foresee the All Blacks playing from their own tryline like the Wallabies did to their detriment in the first minute of the match in Port Elizabeth. For me, the respect factor is what is going to make the Test in Pretoria different to the one in Wellington. The All Blacks have also stated this week that they want to right the wrongs of Wellington, which underlines they are as motivated as the Springboks for the match.”

However Venter, who played 17 Tests for the Boks between 1994 and 1999, added that the Boks are in with a chance “because the All Blacks aren’t at their sharpest at the moment”.

READ Brendan Venter’s full column on the Stuff.co.nz website

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse

New Zealand

15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Ryan Crotty